Potter: Canadian Aid Approach Built on 'Sound' Policy

Cutting funding for the Canadian Council for International Co-operation may be an unpopular move, but is a step toward the right direction in promoting aid efficiency, a Canadian author says.

The Harper administration’s decision to slash financial support for CCIC “appears to be driven by a feeling that if Canada is going to spend money on foreign aid, we should at least try to do it properly,” according to Andrew Potter.

CCIC, he said, is “essentially a lobbying firm for the [non-govermental organization community that was receiving two thirds of its funding from the very agency it was set up to lobby,” he writes in Macleans.ca.

Potter welcomed the Harper administration’s “low-key, though no less far-reaching” approach to aid with Canadian International Development Agency untying its aid budget and focusing on a smaller number of beneficiary nations.

“What we are seeing here is a rare case of Tory ideology actually aligning with sound public policy,” Potter said.

He explained: “[T]his is the exact opposite of what we have seen in the way the Tories have dealt with other departments. In most cases, the government has made it clear that it doesn’t give a hoot about stuff like data, evidence, and outcomes, but when it comes to foreign aid it is the other way around. And that is because the aid industry has deliberately set itself up so that its objectives are impossible to properly measure, in order to protect itself from criticism.”

About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.